Car Tires
The Definitive Guide

There are many vital parts in a vehicle that must be taken care of at all costs.

One of those parts is tires, which allows a car to travel distances.

To help you out with it, we have prepared this ultimate guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Car Tire Guide


Types of Tires
Chapter 1
Types of Tires
Tire Production
Chapter 2
Tire Production
Tire Markings & Interpretation
Chapter 3
Tire Markings & Interpretation
Types of Tread Wear
Chapter 4
Types of Tread Wear
Tire Rotation
Chapter 5
Tire Rotation
Tire Maintenance
Chapter 6
Tire Maintenance
Tire Cleaning
Chapter 7
Tire & Wheels Cleaning
Getting New Tires
Chapter 8
Getting New Tires
Tire Buying Tips
Chapter 9
Tire Buying Tips

Chapter 1
Types of Tires

Without the appropriate tires, your vehicle will not be able to provide its optimum performance.

Therefore, we must at least have some basic knowledge about tires.

So first of all, let us start with the different types of tires that are available in the market for you to choose.

Types of Tires

Tires come in all shapes, sizes, and patterns. It is up to you to decide which type of tire would suit your car the best.

Different Type of Tires
All-Seasonal / Winter / Summer / Off-Road

To determine which tire to choose, you have to consider multiple factors first. These may include the general weather conditions, type of terrain, use of vehicle, your budget, etc.

Tires are responsible for road grip, braking, and fuel consumption among many others. Choosing the appropriate type of tire can help you preserve fuel, reduce road noise, and even make your car safer.

Let us take an example now…

Imagine you are a professional off-road racer, keeping this in mind, what kind of tires would you want your vehicle to have? Ofcourse Off-Road Tires.

What if you are a Professional NASCAR racer? Now, in this case, NASCAR cars are made for racing on a track. To provide maximum speed and get control over your vehicle, Performance Tires or Racing Tires would be the most suitable for you.

One might wonder why aren’t there any universal tires for all sorts of terrains? Well, you can not expect the same type of tire to perform equally well in different conditions.

For instance, the tread on the tire is what makes a significant distinction.

Tire Treads
An example of Tire Treads

NASCAR cars have a very smooth tread on the tires. The reason is so that most of the tire has contact with the track to provide maximum speed and grip at the same time.

On the other hand, off-road tires are much distinct than performance tires — the reason being the difference in the terrains.

Off-road tires have deep treads to provide maximum traction on off-road surfaces which may include mud, dirt gravel, etc.

If you used performance tires for off-road purposes, the chances are that you lose grip of your vehicle and may cause an accident. Similarly, if you use off-road tires for racing on a track, you would not be able to perform nearly as good with racers using performance tires.

Keeping this short illustration in mind, now we are going thoroughly discuss different kinds of tires that are available for you to choose.

All-season Tires

All-season tires, also known as all-around tires, are the most commonly used type of tires.

Most of the cars come with these tires equipped all around the world. These tires give above satisfactory performance in different kinds of seasons. (The reason being that an average driver drives his car on multiple conditions of roads.)

For instance, you must’ve driven your vehicle in the rain, dry weather, or even a bit off-road as well.

All Seasonal Tires
All-season Tire. [Image from Oponeo]

In the image above, the outer tread is for summer while the inner tread is for winter surfaces.

Let’s discuss a few characteristics of these tires:

  • Such tires come with tread patterns that are suitable for wet surfaces as well as dry ones.
  • All-season tires are the most fuel-saving tires out there. (The reason for the efficiency is that manufactures target fuel-saving when producing them as it is one of the critical factors a potential buyer would consider.)
  • You would not have to worry about any awful sounds coming from them while driving. They make very little to no noise as compared to others.
  • As far as the temperature is concerned, the all-around tires do reasonably well in freezing as well as hot temperatures, making it one of the most durable kinds out there.
  • It has a significantly good braking grip. (It can come to a complete stop from 60 mph in around 120-140 feet on a dry surface, and 150-200 feet on a wet surface.)
  • On snow or ice surface, these tires can come to a stationary position in 150 feet if they are going at approximately 30 mph. Similarly, it would take about 300 feet if it is the ice you are driving on.

To sum it all up, an all-season tire is a mix up of summer and winter tire.

Summer Tires

Summer tires, also known as three-season tires, are designed to give maximum speed and road-grip.

These perform exceptionally well, especially in warm and dry pavements. They also have better steering response and feedback due to their stiffer sidewalls. However, this can also reduce the comfort granted by the tire.

When it comes to durability, these tires tend to wear off quicker as compared to all-season tires, especially when pushed to their limits.

All Season Tires
All-season on the left, summer tire on the right.

But let us not forget the fact that these tires have much better performance as compared to all-season tires.

As far as the braking is concerned, the summer tires can come at a complete stop from 60 mph within 110-125 feet on a dry surface, and 135-170 feet on a wet surface. (The better braking grip is evident to the fact that summer tires don’t compromise on performance.)

If there is one thing where the summer tires fall back, is the grip in icy conditions. (At 30 mph, the tires can become stationary at around 200 feet in the snow, and around a whopping 400 feet in ice.) So, if you live in an area with often snowfall, summer tires are not for you. I hope that is also pretty clear by its name, “summer tires” as well.

Winter Tires

As suggested by the name, winter tires, these are the most suitable tires for areas with significantly low temperatures.

They perform reasonably well when compared with all-season and summer tires on icy surfaces.

These tires come with large block designs which enable them to make much contact with the snowy or muddy surface.

winter tires
Winter Tire Treads

There is also an option to add metal studs on the treads of the tire to give extra grip, especially on icy roads. Consequently, these studs make a lot of noise as well, which is a minor drawback.

As far as the braking grip for these tires is concerned, they do pretty well on icy surfaces.

  • Unfortunately, that is not the case on dry or wet roads. These tires manage to come to a complete stop at around 100 feet if traveling at 30 mph in snow.
  • It also stops at about 200 feet on icy surfaces which is quite impressive.
  • As far as dry surfaces are concerned, the car would come to a complete stop in around 125-145 feet on a dry surface, and 150-220 feet on a wet surface.

These stats on damp and dry surfaces are pretty disappointing without a doubt but are pretty impressive as far as icy surfaces are concerned.

Overall, these are the ideal type of tires for freezing temperatures.

All-terrain tires

These are the type of tires that are mostly available with SUVs and light trucks.

These tires provide the optimum performance on and off-road. These are specially designed to give maximum traction off-road and the best road-grip on-road.

All-Terrain Tire
All-Terrain Tire

These tires have dynamic tread patterns on them, allowing the tires to perform well on rough surfaces.

They have stiffer sidewalls as compared to others, and there is a risk of slipping, or in the worst circumstances, flipping over when going at high speeds.

Due to the pattern of the treads on the tires, they do make a lot of noise which is sometimes pretty disturbing, especially when you’re driving peacefully on a highway.

Also, the tread patterns mess up with fuel consumption. (If you are looking for better mileage, then all-terrain tires are not a good option.)

All-terrain tires are also able to carry more load as compared to others. So, if you are a traveler and want to drive a vehicle all year round, these tires would fit your vehicle, preferably if it is an SUV or a light truck.

Muddy Tires

Mud tires consist of treads that look like huge blocks.

Mud Tires
Muddy Tire

Off-road bikes and dune buggies are a prime example of vehicles that use such tires.

Mud tires have large and chunky tread patterns on them, giving the most traction and grip on muddy surfaces. Hence, these are only good for dirty surfaces and not any other.

Racing Tires

Racing tires, also known as ultra-performance tires, are made for Action seekers.

These tires can provide the highest speeds and the most traction on the track. They have incredible road grip and outstanding braking grip as well.

Racing Tire
Racing/performance Tire

The tread patterns are minimal to none on these tires are made to provide most contact with the surface.

All sports cars, such as NASCAR cars, F1 cars, and many others, come equipped with these. They can absorb the intense heat produced by driving at extremely high speeds without a problem.

These tires don’t care about fuel saving.

They are specifically built to provide high-end performance on the track.

Chapter 2
Tire Production

The production goes through multiple steps, which include designing, choosing the size, deciding the tread pattern, etc.

The way it is constructed eventually decides whether to use it for racing or off-roading.

There are mainly two different ways of producing a tire, in essence, cross-ply and radial.

Tire Production
Radial Tire Construction

Radial Tire

Radial tires were first developed back in 1946 by a renowned tire manufacturing company, Michelin. Radial tires are way better than cross-ply tires, as they absorb shocks and impacts much more efficiently.

These tires have the steel cord plies on the crust of the tire. As these cord plies are on top of one another, the sidewalls of these tires remain very flexible. They generate less heat and have higher comfort levels. These tires also help in lower fuel consumption and excellent protection against tread-related damage.

Cross-ply Tire Construction

Cross-Ply Tire

Cross-ply tires have been in use since 1898. These were the standard before the more superior radial tires developed. These type of tires comprises of carcass layers composed of nylon cord.

These tires have a stiff and robust sidewall which can cause it to overheat when used on a hard surface. Consequently, wearing out these tires much quicker as opposed to radial tires. Although modern cars don’t come with cross-ply tires, they still provide better stability and are much cheaper to produce.

Now that we are aware of the two main types of tires, let us check out what parts goes into the production.

Radial Tire Construction
Inside Radial Tire [Image taken from Tiresafety]


The tread is the part of the tire that comes in contact with the surface. There are multiple patterns of tread on a tire, depending on the type.

Treads are responsible for fuel-saving, handling, traction, wear, and many others.

It is made up of uniquely combined rubber material to help the tire survive for the longest possible time. There are different types of designs of tread on a tire. The design is the reason the tires perform in various ways.

Tire Treads pattern
Tread Pattern

Currently, these treads are available in three different patterns, symmetrical, asymmetrical, and unidirectional. Let’s go through a brief explanation about what these are.

  • Symmetrical: As the name itself suggests, the symmetrical tread pattern has the same design on both sides of a tire.
    The symmetrical pattern tread allows the tires to be better looking, provide more stable handling, and are affordable and longer-lasting, making them ideal for everyday use. (Unfortunately, these tires are not high-performance tires and do not do well on wet roads.)
  • Asymmetrical: This tread pattern is the opposite of symmetrical one, as the name suggests too. The tire’s inner and outer halves have different designs on them which do seem a bit odd to see. However, despite being less attractive, these perform exceptionally well on performance diversity. They provide excellent handling and are not as noisy as symmetrical tread tires.
    But, all good things come with a cost. These tires are expensive, and they do wear out quicker as opposed to the other ones.
  • Unidirectional: These tires have the treads in a single direction which is V-shaped. The outside of the tire has more massive treads while the inside has smaller tread patterns. These are designed to provide high performance by allowing the car to reach higher speeds and providing more road grip at the same time.
    They have exceptionally well braking grip as well, which makes it perfect for racers. Apart from high performance, they also provide with better fuel efficiency.
    (But to get a hold of these, you have to pay more as compared to symmetrical and asymmetrical tread tires.)
Symmetrical / Asymmetrical / Unidirectional
Symmetrical / Asymmetrical / Unidirectional


Beads are present on the inside of a tire and are responsible for holding it to the rim.

Tire Bead

They are usually made up of brass, copper, or bronze-plated steel wires wound into a rubber band. These are the foundation of a tire.

Radial tires have one bundle of these steel wires, whereas a cross-ply tire has two or three packets of these wires.

Bead Filler

Tire Bead Filler
Green layer is bead filler [Image from Bridgestone]

A bead filler is a rubber compound that is inside of the tire beads.

The stiffness and thickness of these fillers determine how the tire performs.

It is also responsible for providing stability to the bead area.

Body-ply or Cord-body

The body-ply or the cord-body is responsible for keeping the pressure itself in the tire.

It gives the tire strength and is made up of body plies. Body plies are rubber coated fabric cords which are usually made up of polyester.

bodyply vs cordbody
Body-ply vs Cord-body

Body-ply is for radial tires, whereas cord-body is for cross-ply tires. The cord-body absorbs the shocks and supports the load on the tires. The body-ply is pretty similar to the cord-ply as it functions to send torque forces to the bead and then to the rim as well.

Inner Liner

The inner-liner is available in tubeless tires which prevent the air from leaking.

Inner Liner

It functions as an inner tube to help retain the air pressure in the tires.

Many modern cars, don’t come with tires that have inner air-tubes anymore, as beads, bead fillers, and inner liners operate collectively to keep the air inside the casing.

Belt or Breaker

Radial tires have belts in them, as opposed to the cross-ply tires which have breakers.

Steel Belt in Radial Tire

The belt is made up of steel cord wires arranged in several layers between the body ply and the tread, whereas nylon or steel wire is used to make a breaker.

The primary function of these two is to provide strength and stability to the tire tread. They also play a huge role in fuel saving, traction, and collision protection.

Road tires come with one or maybe two layers of cord wires, whereas off-road tires come with somewhere around four to five.


Tire Sidewall

The sidewall is responsible for making a protective covering for the cord body.

Furthermore, it has all the information about the tire on it, which includes tire size, speed rating, etc.

The rubber compound that makes up the sidewall is created to withstand damage from ozone, cuts, and obstacles.


Tire Chafer
Pink layer is Chafer

The chafer is a protective coating in cross-ply tires that guards the beads and the body from chafing.

On the other hand, the chafer is used to make the beads stiffer, which in return, make it more durable. It also limits the bead from deformation and deflection.

Chapter 3
Tire Markings & Interpretation

You must have noticed some writings on the sidewall of your tire.

They seem like some alien language because of all the mixed numbers and letters don’t make any sense!

Well, we don’t blame you for that. Those markings indicate various features of the tire itself.

Tire Markings and Interpretation

In simple words, it is a description of the tire in a combination of numbers and letters.

There are multiple alphanumeric codes on a tire, and now we will go through an example of what they are and how to read them.

Let’s take an example.

Tire Sidewall
Reading Tire Sidewall

Suppose, we have a tire with markings 225/50 R 17 98 H as shown in the image above.

It may look like “alien language”, but let me interpret it for you.

  • 225 represents the width of the tire and it is in millimeters. (The higher the number, the greater the width of the tire is, from one sidewall edge to the other one.) So, the first number you read on the tire is its thickness.
  • 50 represents the aspect ratio of the tire. The number 50 is the percentage of the width. It means that the section height for this tire is 112.5 millimeters, which is 50 percent of 225. The higher the number, the greater the sidewall. (It is also known as tire profile.)
  • “R” in this sample, means the type of internal construction of the tire which is Radial.
  • 17 represents the diameter of the rim for this tire which is “17 Inches”. Oddly enough, despite all the readings being in millimeters, this is the only one measured in inches.
  • 98 represents the load index, which expresses the tire’s maximum load-carrying ability. The number does not itself represent the weight. For instance, 98 on the tire means that it can lift 1653 pounds. Now, as the car has four tires, multiply 1653 by four which gives us 6612. Hence, these tires are capable of lifting a maximum of approximately 6612 pounds on them.
    You can find the Load Index Chart here.
  • “H” is the speed rating of the tire itself. These ratings show the maximum speed a tire can go to without overheating or wearing out quickly. For instance, H means the tire has a speed rating of 130 mph.

Tire Speed Ratings

There are multiple speed ratings for a tire.

Please have a look at the chart below:

P93 mph
Q99 mph
R106 mph
S112 mph
T119 mph
U124 mph
H130 mph
V149 mph
ZMore than 149mph
W168 mph
Y186 mph
(Y)More than 186mph

Few other Rare Markings

There are chances you find some rare markings on the tire which I haven’t explained earlier.

So, I will go through a list of all the possible markings you can find.

Tire Sidewall Markings
  • The service description letter is also pretty standard. It can be P, LT, ST, or T. P stands for Passenger, Light Truck, Special trailer, and Temporary respectively.
  • You can find different designations on the tire as well, such as mud and snow (written as M and S, respectively).
  • Temperature rating can also be seen on a tire, which illustrates the maximum or the lowest temperature the tire is made to withstand. “A” is the highest grade, and “C” is the lowest.
  • Traction rating of the tire, with “AA” being the highest grade, and “C” being the lowest.
  • Maximum allowed inflation pressure, which is the pressure requirement.
  • A manufactured date can also be seen on the sidewall.

These were all the various markings you can possibly find on a tire.

Chapter 4
Types of Tread Wear

All tires are designed differently for multiple conditions, and it is a wearable part of the car.

The tires wear out over time and can be due to multiple reasons.

Now, we will look forward to several types of wears that can appear on the tire, along with the reasons for them to appear.

Types of Tread Wear

Center Wear

Center Wear

This type of wear appears on the center of the tire, as the name suggests.

The main reason for this type of wear is over-inflation.

When the tire is overinflated, the center of the tire gets most or all the contact with the surface, causing it to wear out quicker as compared to the sides of the tire.

Center wear can also appear if the diameter of the rim does not match the tire, or if you forget to rotate the tires according to the recommended cycle.

Side Wear

Side Wear

The primary reason for side wear is when the tire is under-inflated.

When this happens, the sides of the tire have the most contact with the surface and hence wear out quicker.

Other reasons may include the car being out of alignment, repeatedly cornering at high speeds, bent or worn steering arm, or if you forget to rotate the tires according to the recommended cycle.

Cupping Wear

Cupping Wear

Cupping wear appears on the tire mainly when the car has a faulty suspension system or if the car shock absorbers are worn out.

With this type of wear, you can feel the tires bounce when you are traveling.

The reason for this is the scoops worn in the tread of the tires, it is recommended to get the tire fixed, or changed in the worst circumstances, as soon as possible.


Tire Feathering

Feathering is generally not visible to the naked eye.

However, you can feel it by running your fingers along with the tread. If you see a feathering on the tread of the tire, that means it is worn out.

Feathering occurs typically due to aggressive driving or a faulty toe-in in the wheel alignment, or a bent axle. You can avoid it by driving carefully, especially when cornering, or adjusting the wheel alignment if that is the issue.

One-sided Wear

One-sided Wear

One-sided wear occurs when the tire is worn out from just one side, either the inner side of the tire or the outer.

The main reason for this is when the camber alignment is incorrect.

Also, if camber alignment does not fix the issue, it is better to get the ball joints, and springs checked out.

Flat Spot Wear

Flat Spot Tire

Flat Spot wear occurs when there is just one spot on the tire that is worn out. It can be left by sudden braking and accelerating, causing the tires to skid.

Such aggressive driving leaves spots on the tires, often at more than one spot.

Other reasons may include a dynamic imbalance in the tire, hitting potholes at high speeds, and underinflation.

Diagonal Wear

Diagonal Wear

As the name suggests, diagonal wear occurs typically in a diagonal form on the tread.

Such wear is quite similar to flat spot wear but is not the same at all.

Diagonal wear usually occurs due to problems in the wheel alignment, or omission to rotate the tires.

Sidewall Wear

Sidewall Wear

Sidewall wear is one of the least common types of wear.

Such wear typically occurs when the car is parked too close to the curb. Sidewall wears can also form if the tires bump into sidewalks when street parking in urban areas.

However, it might seem insignificant, but such wear can cause the tire’s core to lose its strength and cause it to buckle.


Treadwear is the easiest among all the different kinds of wear to check.

A tire wears out when the tread reaches 2/32 of an inch. You can find out if your tire has treadwear in various ways.

Tread Wear Indicator

First of all, most tires now come with tread wear indicators. When the rubber indicator that is present between the treads is of equal height as the tread itself, it means that the tread has worn out and the tire must be changed.

Tread wear check through penny coin

The second trick is to use the good old penny.

Just run the penny through any tread groove and make sure that Lincoln’s head is upside down and facing towards you. If the head is visible, including the hair, it means the tire has worn out.

Now repeat this procedure through various sections of the tread groove and see the results.

Chapter 5
Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is the practice of switching the front tires with the ones on the back.

It is highly recommended to even the tire wears and hence, increase the total lifetime.

Generally, it is advised to rotate the tires every 5000 miles.

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is essential mainly because cars don’t have an equal balance on the front half and the back.

Most vehicles have their engine in the front, which makes the tires on the front bear more weight as compared to the ones on the back end. Such uneven distribution of mass causes the tires on the front to wear out quicker as opposed to the ones on the back.

In contrast, the back wheels have much lesser weight, unless of course it is a race car or you drift a lot.

Mechanical problems such as imbalanced wheel alignment or braking issues also cause tires on one side to wear out quicker than the others. Therefore, manufacturers themselves recommend tire rotation, which is the practice of swapping the front and the rear tires.

Tire Rotation Mechanics

Tre rotation varies through the type of car.

For instance, tire rotation has a different procedure for four-wheel drives, front-wheel drives, and rear-wheel drives.

Rear and Four-wheel (Non-unidirectional Tire) Rotation
Rear and Four-wheel Tire Rotation

Tire rotation procedure for Front-wheel drive with non-unidirectional tire and Rear-wheel drive is exactly the same.

Rear and four-wheel drives must swap the tires on the opposite sides. The left-front tire must swap with right-back tire, on the other hand, the right-front tire must swap with the left-back tire.

 Front-Wheel Tire Rotation
Front-Wheel Tire Rotation

For front-wheel drives, the rear wheels must swap on the opposite front side, but the front tires go back on the same side.

For example, the right-front tire would go back on the right side, but the right-back tire would move to the left-front. Similarly, the left-front tire goes to the left-back, whereas the left-back tire goes to the right-front of the car.

Tire Rotation Procedure

It is a pretty less time-consuming task, as it requires about a maximum of 30 minutes to complete, and you have to do it after every 5000 miles.

Image from

This job does not require any fancy tools.

  • A car jack, two jack stands, impact or a deep-socket wrench, would do the task just fine.
  • The car jack is needed to lift the car so you can take out the tires, whereas, you need the first jack stand to keep the car up on the side of the first tire that you will swap, and the second jack stand to keep the car up on the opposite side.
  • Lastly, the wrench is required to loosen up the bolts and then tighten them up again.
First of all, push the handbrake, safety always comes first!

Then loosen up the bolts a bit before lifting the side which has the tire that you will take out first. After lifting, insert the first jack stand and take out the tire. Then, lift the other side and take out the tire you want to switch. Insert the second jack stand in its place and swap both of the tires.

Repeat this process with the other pair. Once done, tighten up all the bolts and release the car from the stands slowly and steadily with the help of the car jack.

That is it, you have completed your tire rotation.

Chapter 6
Tire Maintenance

Few steps you can take to ensure that your tires stay in perfect condition for as long as possible are:

  • Maintaining the Tire Pressure
  • Not overloading the car
  • Balancing all the Tires
  • Lots more

I’ll list down a few in detail now.

Tire Maintenance

Maintain Tire Pressure

Maintain Tire Pressure

Tire pressure should be examined every once in a while to keep the tires in good condition.

There are many advantages to it as well.

  • It helps you save tons of money as you would not have to change tires anytime soon.
  • Furthermore, it prevents the tires from wearing out, which is highly probable if the tire is overinflated or underinflated.
  • Proper tire pressure ensures better handling, which in return makes the ride safer and more comfortable too.

You can find the recommended tire pressure using the manual, make sure to check once in a week using a tire pressure gauge and maintain it.

Maintain Tire Treads

Maintain Tire Treads

Tread depth is an essential aspect to look in to maintain a tire.

There are multiple ways to check for tread depth, as mentioned earlier in the guide. The tread must not be worn out to ensure safety and better road grip as well. Occasional tire rotation can help prevent the tread from wearing out and decreasing the lifetime of the tire.

The average required tread depth is of at least 1.6mm.

(In some states, a tread depth lower than 1.6mm is also illegal.)

Balancing Tires

Balancing Tires

Balancing tires helps divide the weight equally among the complete circumference of the tire.

It is recommended to adjust the tires every 3500 to 6000 miles traveled, depending on the driving conditions.

It also is suggested to balance out the tires when buying new ones, repairing them, rotating them, or if the car hits a big pothole at high speed.

There are two main ways to balance the tires, which are, with dynamic balancers and with static balancers.

Static balancers

Static balancers are referred to as the method in which the wheel’s center of gravity is balanced. This means if you rotate the tire on an axle, it would remain still disregarding its position.

Dynamic balancers

Dynamic balancers use a different method. The tire is placed on a balancing machine test wheel. That machine then rotates the tire at multiple speeds, and the sensors look for any imbalances.

It must be taken into account that dynamic balancing is far better especially when balancing wider tires.

Re-torquing Wheel

Re-torquing Wheel

Re-torquing wheel is essential as the lug nuts often tighten or loosen up due to vibrations and other forces by daily usage.

In the worst case, if the lug nuts are too loose, the tire has a chance of coming off while driving, which can cause a severe accident.

If they are too tight, they can break fasteners or even damage bolt threads. Hence, re-torquing the wheel is just as important as the others, especially when you get new tires.

An appropriate set of Tires

appropriate set of Tires

Using an appropriate set of tires is significant to maintain your tires.

Summer tires are recommended in areas with higher temperatures, similarly winter tires in regions with lower temperatures.

Using the tires according to what their purpose makes a big difference in how long they remain in good condition. It is highly recommended to switch between summer and winter tires if you live in an area with both seasons.

Never Overload

Never overload your car

Never overload your tires. Every tire comes with a load index which illustrates the maximum weight a tire can bear.

It is suggested never to overload the tires more than they can carry.

It has a tremendous negative impact on the health of a tire.

Inspect tires regularly

Tires Inspection

Inspect tires regularly to make sure they are free of any harmful materials.

Roads are full of debris, metal, glass, and other tiny things that can have a huge impact on the health of your tire.

A metal nail is very small in size but can punch a hole in the tire which can damage it and if not taken care of as soon as possible, can cause the tire to blow out.

Drive with Care

Drive with Care

Drive with care to keep your tires in optimum condition.

Sharp cornering, drifting, and accelerating too much can cause your tires to depreciate early. The way you drive has a significant result on the outcome of your tires. Drive carefully and avoid potholes at all cost as they are the worst enemies of a tire.

Driving at higher speed limits of the tire can cause them to wear-out.

Moreover, driving fast also causes the tires to heat up due to friction. More friction means higher temperatures which lead to tires wearing out quicker than expected.

Use a Spare Tire when required

Spare Tire

Use a spare tire when necessary.

You may come in a position when you are unable to buy or completely change your tires.

For instance, if one of the tires wears out, it is better if you switch that tire with the spare one.

It helps to keep the worn-out tire from wearing out more to the point it is completely useless. (It can potentially save you from monetary loss, as you have to change the complete set of tires even if one of them wears out completely.)

Chapter 7
Tire & Wheels Cleaning

Keeping the tires clean and tidy is necessary.

Tires are a unique part of a vehicle that keeps in constant contact with the surface.

All kinds of dust, tar, mud, oils, among many others, can harm your tires if not washed out soon.

Tire Cleaning

Before we begin, let us talk about some common problems a tire might face due to many reasons.

There are two things that a tire goes through after being used for some time.

Tire Blooming or browning
Tire browning

Blooming or Browning of a tire means that it loses its original black color and seems a bit brownish. Tires come with an antiozonant compound from the factories to prevent it from degrading over time which includes oxidizing or cracking.

This chemical is an essential part of a tire as it prevents it from the degradation of rubber when it gets in contact with the ozone. However, once exposed to air, the chemical starts to leave brownish residue on the surface of the tires.

Tire dry rotting
Dry Rotting

Dry rotting is another common problem among tires that you can prevent by regularly cleaning it.

As the name itself suggests, the tires rot by staying dry, especially in areas with high temperatures. The tires can also rot if not used much often or due to low pressure.

It is fungal that can cause the tires to rot or blowout. They also form cracks on the tires which are visible to the naked eye. These are harmful to the tires and can cause them to fail earlier than expected.

How to prevent tire blooming?

Blooming occurs when a tire is not clean and has been in use for a long time.

To prevent it, you need to wash them regularly with car soap and water.

Washing Car Tire with soap and water

It is the most basic method to do so, but an effective one.

Just give your tires a complete wash every weekend if the usage is too much. It prevents the residue from staying on the tire and keeps them to retain their original black color.

Other than this, using tire cleaners to clean the tires is a more superior method of doing so.

Wash tire with cleaners

They contain multiple chemicals to remove the blooming, making them very useful.

However, one must keep in mind that these chemicals can also harm the tires if used quite often.

Hence, it is advised to look for the one with the least harmful chemicals and use them once a month and not more. They keep the tires in natural condition by removing the browning and make them look much attractive.

How to prevent dry rotting?

Dry rotting

As far as dry rotting is concerned, driving the vehicle at least twice a month can help prevent it.

Washing it regularly and avoiding tire contact with petroleum is a great way to restrict cracking.

Also, make sure to keep your car covered if you live in an area with a high temperature.

Just don’t let it stay under direct sunlight for extended periods. Maintaining the correct air pressure at all times is also vital to prevent the tire from rotting.

Tire Cleaning Procedure

Wash your tire with clean water.

Then apply car soap and rub it using a sponge or a brush.

Once done, rinse tires again with water and if any browning found, apply tire clearer all over it and brush it over and over again. Proceed by washing the tires one last time and then use a towel for drying. Your tire will look just like a new one.

Washing Car Tire with soap and water

When you are done washing the tires, you can apply tire shiner to, obviously, give your tires a shine.

These are pretty affordable and makes the tires look pleasing to the eye.

It makes the tire look even blacker and cleaner, and also making the sidewall much attractive.

There are two main types of tire shiners.


Water-based is more suitable as it provides a non-greasy finish and these are far better as they nourish the tires and absorb into them.

They are generally eco-friendly as well and also add a layer of extra protection from the harmful substances out there, which include the UV rays.

They also help against cracking or hardening of the tire. However, water-based shiners are not very long-lasting as it lasts for a week or a maximum of two weeks before fading.


Solvent-based shiners last way longer and they too add a shine to the tires but do not get absorbed them, giving a plastic-like look.

These are also comparatively less protective when compared with water-based shiners. These are cheaper, and hence can be harmful as well.

Applying it is a piece of cake. For better and the most appropriate use, it is recommended to consult the instructions provided on the back of the shiner, as application varies.

After shining your tires, all you have to do is to apply a coating to add water and dust repelling.

Tire Coating

Tire Coating

Lastly, you can apply tire coating or car wax as well.

The most significant benefit of coating is the fact that it lasts very long, more than 3 months.

You can get one of these from multiple online shops or your nearest tire store.

These coatings help in adding a further protective layer and keeping the tires clean and shiny for the longest possible time. (However, you must apply it once your tire is completely clean and you have used a shiner on it as well to give the best results.)

Chapter 8
Getting New Tires

Getting a new set of tires once your older ones have worn out or are not performing the way they should is vital.

But the question that arises is “When to get new tires?”

Let me answer it today for you.

Getting New Tires

First of all, double-check how old your tires are?

Manufacturers recommend changing tires every five years. However, this varies from company to company. Many even recommend changing every six or even ten years.

So, make sure to have a look at your manufacturer’s website to find out what they suggest and if that time has passed, it’s better to get yourself a new set.

In case if your tires are not that old, but you are still facing issues with the performance, there can be various reasons …

Tire Wearing

Tire Wearing

Multiple types of wears have been described and discussed earlier in this guide.

If your tire is worn out, it makes the vehicle less comfortable and increases the risks of accidents. With these wears, you can also hear a weird sound coming out of your tire while driving.

Exposure to extreme weather also deteriorates your a tire’s condition and cause tire wearing.

So, if you live in a region with extremely high or low temperatures, you need to check for wears much more often.

Tire Cracking

Tire Cracking

You need to check your tires for cracking.

If there are any cracks on your tread or sidewalls, it is better to get yourself a new set.

Cracking can even cause your tire to blowout, which is something very undesirable.

Tire Bulges

Tire bulges

If you notice any bulges on the tire, it is because the outer surface has become weaker.

This bulge becomes the soft spot of the tire and can make it explode.

Hence, it is highly suggested to change the tires that have bumps or blisters.

Internal Damage

tire Internal damage

Lastly, if you notice any abnormal performance, such as too much vibration, there is a possibility of internal damage in the tire.

There are chances for the error in tires alignment, but the problem can be in the tire itself too.

So, get it checked and if the problem is, in fact, in the tire, it is better to get a new pair.

Chapter 9
Tire Buying Tips

There are a few things that you need to know before making your final call.

You must get yourself the correct pair of tires for your vehicle as they are pretty expensive and is an essential part of your car.

So, before you buy yourself some new tires, make sure you go through the key factors that are listed down below.

Tire Buying Tips



You need to make sure that you get tires that are fully compatible with your car to prevent the hassle of returning and getting a new one.

Compatibility is the most critical factor in the list.

The car manual generally has all the information on what kind of tires suits your vehicle the best, along with the minimum requirements.

Tire Size

Tire Size

Make sure to get the correct tire size.

You need to look at the type of tire, its width, load index, weather compatibility, and the speed rating, among several others which can be found in Chapter 3.

Select the one which is most suitable for your car and your driving region and style as well.

For instance, in an area with high temperatures, summer tires are preferred. If you like to drive fast, summer performance tires would be the best option for you.

Fuel Economy

Tire Fuel Economy

You need to consider the fuel economy of a tire.

Tires have several different characteristics and are specially designed to fulfill their purpose.

The fuel economy varies tire to tire.

Some are made to deliver high performance, but neglect fuel efficiency, whereas others provide better fuel economy, but neglect some performance.

So, you need to keep in mind what would you prefer, either high-end performance or more fuel saving.

Matching Pair

Matching Tires Pair

Get yourself a matching set of tires, Period.

Make sure you don’t get different front and back tires, it is not recommended at all.

It can affect your vehicle’s performance overall and can even damage the axle.

Also, if you are replacing the worn-out tires, you still need to replace all of them even if one or two are worn-out, and the rest are fine.

Read Reviews

Read reviews

Reading reviews of different tire manufacturers is advantageous.

It can make the decision making much faster and can help you choose the best tires for your vehicle.

I personally read the reviews thoroughly before making my final call.

Tire Noise

Tire Noise

You also need to consider tire noise before choosing them.

Different tires produce different sounds. It all depends on their make and design. You need to see what is suitable for you.

Generally, off-road tires and high-performance tires make more noise as compared to regular tires.

It is all about personal preference.


tire warranty
Courtesy of Lenpenzo

The warranty given by the manufacturer is also something worth considering before choosing a set of new tires.

Having an extended warranty can safeguard your interests and can help you in the long run if any problem arises.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use different types of tires on the same vehicle?

Choosing different kinds of tires on the same vehicle is not recommended at all as it harms the car itself, its safety, and can also limit the maximum speed and fuel economy.

However, some vehicles have differently sized front and rear wheels. (In such cases, you must refer to the owner’s manual before choosing the tires.)

Can you buy used tires and are they any good?

Buying used tires is not suggested as you never know if they are in usable condition or not.

However, there is a possibility that you find a good deal, but it is still risky. Buying tires is a long-term investment, and therefore, getting new ones is preferred.

Where can I get the best deals on tires?

There are numerous online websites and tire stores out there.

A number of online stores sell quality tires, which include Amazon, tire Rack, Discount tire, etc. Few offline tire stores include Costco, Big O tires, Les Schwab tire Centers, etc.

Can winter tires be used in summer and vice versa?

Yes, both of these can deliver above-average performance in the opposite season.

However, it would not be as good as in the recommended season for obvious reasons. (If you live in a region that has multiple seasons throughout the year, all-season tires are better for you.)

What is the appropriate air pressure for a tire?

Air pressure depends solely on the type of tire you are using, and it varies accordingly. The owner’s manual mentions the correct air pressure for the tires.


I hope you enjoyed reading this guide to car tires.

Now I’d like to hear from you: What you didn’t know about tires before reading this guide?

Are you getting yourself a new pair of tires?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Car tires Guide Conclusion

1 thought on “Car Tires 101: The Definitive Guide”

  1. Thanks for mentioning that if you don’t have the proper tires then your car cannot achieve its optimum performance. My wife and I are thinking about taking our cars to get the tires checked because the air pressure always seems to drop even after filling them up to the correct number. I think it’s a good investment to take our vehicles to a reputable shop that can help us decide if we need new tires or how to maintain them properly.


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